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Need some help interfacing with hostile club leadership


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I need some advice. I am serving as a committee chair and match director for Multigun as well as some other sports at my club.

There is a recently formed Safety comittee at the club that is implementing some rules that are going to inhibit my ability to run quality matches, if I will be able to run them at all.

For example:

--A rule is to be added that all rounds must impact the back berm of each practical bay. No rounds may impact the side berm.

--All targets must be placed at a height and orientation such that all rounds must impact the back berm. This means that shotgun targets will be either on the back berm, or not at all. For example knock-downs and poppers. No disinction is being made here between types of ammunition. A shotshell is a rifle round is a pistol round is a paintball.

So my first question. Has anyone ever dealt with a club (inside the United States) that has these rules, or does anyone know of one?

If this is a common practice, then I am done.

Assuming this is abnormal, let's continue. When I said "hostile" in the title, perhaps I should have said "passive-agressive". Some time ago, I was asked if such a ruling would inhibit my ability to run matches. I answered that it would hurt multigun, uspsa, and idpa matches at the club, and that answer was acknowledged and accepted, and that was supposedly the end of it. When I wasn't around to offer any input, the club executive board decided to vote on these new rules. I offer a lot of my time to the club, and my time is valuable. I was not even consulted by the safety committee before this decision was made. I am tempted to walk away from all my involvement in match administration and volunteering and call it a day.

So what can I do here? This doesn't seem right. A shooting sports club that doesn't want to allow and support the shooting sports. Will the NRA get involved here? We are an NRA affiliated range. Do they even care if their organizations don't promote other (non-NRA sponsored) shooting sports?

Any input is appreciated.

Edited by birdo
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I've gone through similar issues not that long ago. First question ask is are the side berms unsafe? Are they too low, too thin, etc. If they are then they are right BUT then they should fix them because even if you don't shoot them during matches it doesn't mean a random shooter won't shoot them when there is no one to watch them possibly injuring someone in the next pit. If they are willing to say that the side berms are unsafe for you to shoot and not fix them then I point out to them that they may have some liability issues if someone gets hurt because they just stated, in writing that the range is unsafe and refused to fix it.

If you can't use targets where the rounds impact the ground (such as poppers) you should ask them to pay for them changing the rules buy purchasing enough tall plate stands and plates to replace targets you can no longer use. Your equipment was purchased in good faith assuming the existing rules and now their change of rules makes the equipment partially useless. Ask them to pony up the cash to fix the problem.

The most useful but hardest solution would be to run for the board. One of the clubs I belong to was in danger of being taken over by bullseye and high-power shooters with the same kind of "issues" and we just had the steel/uspsa/idpa shooters get together and at the next election we changed the composition of the board in our favor. Our USPSA match director is now the club president.

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Ok, thank you for the input. So the side berms are a bit lower in spots than I (and most people) would like. The club membership agreed on this and is working to get them replaced (albeit way too slowly).

But this issue is sort of tangental, as these rules are not meant to be temporary because of that problem, these are meant to be permanent.

Concerning the ground impacts, let's say that we are talking about your typical mid-west style small rock and grass ground covering. If the back (and side) berms are of sufficient height, is there an issue with rounds impacting the ground? (Please note that I am asking only for clarification, I am not trying to be a wise-ass or seem ignorant, I just want to be prepared to discuss this intelligently).

Your idea about asking them to budget for equipment to fix the problem is a good one.

We have a good president in place, hes a practical shooter. Unfortunately he needs to listen to his fellow executive board members and committee recommendations. And this "Safety committee" has no practical shooters on it, at least none that are sentient evidently. That is one of my complaints that will be voiced soon.

And I wouldn't run for the board if my life depended on it. That's a great idea, but I couldn't handle dealing with ignorance like this. That seems way too much like work ;)

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There is a local club in our area that is in the same boat you are, all bullets must impact the back berm. It makes stage designs a real challenge, however they adapted and run weekly USPSA matches and are very successful (location is prime). I guess the point that I am making is, it's better to have a match with restricitons than not have a match at all. Good luck

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The safety committee is likely faced with the same problem as others do - they have to be as pro-active as possible to keep problems from developing which could lead to problems with "the neighbors".

Every range is going to have some issues that you have to work around. My range has hard rocky soil so we have to be very careful about putting targets at a height that does not result in people shooting into them at a shallow angle. That's why you will find we sometimes use close low targets or distant tall targets but never distant low targets - unless they are close to the berm.

See if you can work with them to develop some special rules just for your matches where everything is going to be strictly controlled to keep the rounds going into the thickest part of the berms. Remember, this does not mean that Joe Average can get out there Wed afternoon and put targets wherever he wants, these special rules only apply to your matches where everything is under strict control of experienced Range Officers.

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My club has a similar rule. The side berms are taller and deeper than almost any I've ever seen, so it isn't a safety issue. We tend to cheat a little. It is a challenge setting up a course of fire where all of the bullets impact the rear berm. We've been known to sneak targets up the side berms from time to time, but I've been told if a board member ever shows up it might cause some headaches for the MD. It helps that one of the board members runs the cowboy match, and agrees that the side berms can take the occaisional round.

Like Joe said, your best bet is to get as many USPSA shooters on the board, then you can start making changes.

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I've noticed two things about gun clubs and action shooting. One, the people that typically make the safety rules have no idea about what we do. They usually don't even shoot our matches. Two, I've found that money talks. Take your program to another club or just shut it down for a little while. It is nice to a free weekend for a change. Once your home club starts to notice that your monthly $1000 donation to the club stops showing up, things may change. Also, keep in mind that it is much easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. :devil: Just do what they are asking for awhile and then slowly return to normal.

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I sympathize with your pains. Saw the similar thing happen at a club close to home. The short term, you have to deal with the "landlord's" wishes and run "Indoor-IPSC" stages or not hold matches.

Long term... find a new home or run for office on the big gun club's BoD (or develop alliances and find members of the current BoD willing to champion your cause).

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